I did not read this book as a child, although I certainly watched the movie a lot and took to wearing a necklace on my head in an attempt to look more...moreI did not read this book as a child, although I certainly watched the movie a lot and took to wearing a necklace on my head in an attempt to look more like the Childlike Empress, who had a very beautiful pearl teardrop hanging atop her forehead.
Of course, the book is better. I love all books that are parables about the importance of using your imagination. It's so meta. Also, just very great fantasy storytelling. Good for graduate students who need to remember that reading is thrilling and joyous, not just piles of words and thoughts to get through. (less)
In 1990 I saved up some allowance and bought a cassingle of celine dion's first English language hit song, Where Does My Heart Beat Now. I wish someon...moreIn 1990 I saved up some allowance and bought a cassingle of celine dion's first English language hit song, Where Does My Heart Beat Now. I wish someone would write about the demise of the cassingle, because that was a truly affordable format for nine year olds, but that's beside the point. The point is that while I soon thereafter fully pledged my life to Pearl Jam and Nirvana,and after that never stopped being cool (haha) I once was a Celine Dion fan, and so the entire premise of this book, that Celine is such maudlin middlebrow music that one must venture to far reaches of taste, via Bourdieu and Kant, in order to reconcile with it, was distant to me. Maybe if the subject was Michael Bolton or Kenny G my boundaries would have been pushed, because I really feel nothing when I hear their music, but Celine is not that kind of artist for me. The parts of this book that are about Celine, her years as a child star, the ins and outs of the Quebecois music world and her changing role within it, are the best parts of this book, and are excellent. I was inspired to watch Youtube videos of her singing in French, and watching Celine speak Canadian French and sing in her native language was eye-opening, just as Wilson said it would be. The chapters about taste were less illuminating, maybe because I read a lot of self-reflexive music criticism, and I have to read all the academic stuff for school, and also I live in Brooklyn, so basically everyday I watch people experiment with the boundaries of taste. Of course lowbrow is now cool, and middlebrow remains kind of embarrassing. But then that just means that identifying with something middlebrow is the new boldest taste experiment! and so on, forever, in the hip kid taste spiral. These chapters were a decent overview of theorizing about taste, but Wilson seemed too skittish to draw his own conclusions. And I wished he'd just talk more about Celine Dion. (less)
**spoiler alert** I should've just read the last 90 pages of the book. Instead I read the first 279 and after that I didn't care if the army of baby v...more**spoiler alert** I should've just read the last 90 pages of the book. Instead I read the first 279 and after that I didn't care if the army of baby vampires ate all the lumberjacks or not. (less)
This is a difficult book to read. The narrative is fractured, the narrator is dubious, and the subject matter is harsh. But if you judge the success o...moreThis is a difficult book to read. The narrative is fractured, the narrator is dubious, and the subject matter is harsh. But if you judge the success of a book but how much a reader feels like she is actually there, in itchy chaotic Tokyo in the first year of the allied occupation, this book is an absolute stunner. I just can't give it five stars, because reading it made me feel that I myself was an insomniac detective, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a terrible case of lice, trapped in a world where there was no logic or truth anymore, and that didn't feel particularly great.
On the other hand, this is such a vivid rendering of early occupation Tokyo, and it provided an affective counterpoint to all the academic texts I read about Japanese history, so maybe when I stop itching I'll give it another star. (less)